Friday, December 3, 2010


Jayhawks lucky to survive off night


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following KU's 77-76 victory over UCLA on Dec. 2, 2010.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

UCLA coach Ben Howland questions last-second call against his team

UCLA coach Ben Howland questions the last-second call against his team following KU's 77-76 victory over UCLA on Dec. 2, 2010.

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Mario Little hit a free throw with 0.7 seconds, giving the Kansas men's basketball team a 77-76 victory over UCLA on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The “L” in the standings comes after the “W,” not before it. There is no “LW” to track lucky wins. Otherwise, Thursday night’s could have gone under that column for a Kansas University basketball team that stayed undefeated by the slimmest of margins, 77-76, against UCLA.

Kansas survived atypical bone-headed shot selection and a porous interior defense and was carried to the finish line by a whistle nobody would have pleaded for had it never sounded.

Asked if his team had just scored a lucky win, KU coach Bill Self said, “Oh yeah, they outplayed us. We were fortunate. I haven’t seen the play yet. Mario (Little) said he did get fouled at the end, but that was fortunate.”

Luck had nothing to do with Tyshawn Taylor playing a brilliant game, particularly late when he repeatedly took his man to the hoop to bring his team back from a deficit. But despite wild support from the Allen Fieldhouse crowd, this was a night the Jayhawks seemed off kilter, even from the free-throw line, where they made just 16 of 30.

UCLA came in with a wise game plan, pounding it in to behemoth freshman center Joshua Smith, who got both Morris twins into foul trouble and contributed his first double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, eight on the offensive glass.

After multiple blowout victories, Self bemoaned his post players’ failure to play defense before their men caught the ball. He knew that wasn’t going to cut it against more talented big men. The 305-pound Smith, who has lost 30 pounds and still could stand to drop that many more, knows how to throw his weight around and has soft hands but a strong will.

“I don’t know if there are a lot of guys like Josh, but if I was coaching against us, I would attack our bigs every possession,” Self said. “Everybody can see it. It doesn’t take a guy who studies a ton of tape to know after watching one game to just throw it to your big guys because our big guys don’t guard very well. We’ve got to get a lot better at that.”

Thomas Robinson remains raw defensively, and Marcus and Markieff Morris tend to foul too frequently after failing to deny entry passes. Josh Selby will help this team in a lot of areas, but he can’t make Robinson and the twins defend the post better.

Self’s voice will be heard loudly and clearly in practice because the three players whose defense the coach called out after the game are extremely eager to please, and they hate to lose.

Self was perplexed with his team’s play, particularly so when addressing the shot selection of Little, who came off the bench firing away early in the shot clock. The coach said he even was told by his assistant coaches that pregame warumps were lousy.

The homecourt advantage Kansas has playing in the Fieldhouse means the team doesn’t always have to be sharp to come out on top. Self didn’t struggle to identify the MVP for the Jayhawks in this attractively flawed game that pushed their homecourt winning streak to 64 games.

“The crowd won the game for us,” the coach said. “We certainly appreciate that.”

The crowd and a quick-trigger whistle with seven-tenths of a second remaining.


BillSelfsLittleBrother 11 years, 7 months ago

The twins need to stay out of foul trouble and we need to push the ball up the court more after missed shots, the twins also had unusually bad games tonight as well. Were better than we showed tonight. They still have a lot of work to do also. Hopefully Selby is as good as Kyrie, if not we are not a championship caliber basketball team.

David Howell 11 years, 7 months ago

We were dang lucky to escape with a "W" tonight. The game played out almost like we were on the road instead of AFH.

There is no way we are deserving of being ranked #4 right now. Just like last game we played a great first 10 minutes and then not so good from there. Of course without Tyrel Reed in the 1st half we would have lost for sure. He was a stud and didn't look to shoot much in the 2nd half, but we need him to continue to shoot and shoot often even if cold. He'll heat up and then watch out.

Too many missed FT's, terrible defense for a lot of the game, and TRob and EJ looked lost for the most part. No real reason why the twins couldn't have dominated the slow big man Smith and the terrible white dudes at forward way more then they did. As usual Tyshawn has a good play followed by a bad play and so on and so forth. I've got used to it.

Till Selby shows up, Bill has his work cut out for him and quite possibly thereafter for some time too ...............

Jayhawk61 11 years, 7 months ago

Was anybody else troubled by our rebounding deficit? I'm waiting for this to be addressed pretty aggressively.

Otownhawker 11 years, 7 months ago

Writers, posters and who ever else don't ever compare Thomas Robinson to D-Block until he has actually proved something. Last time I checked Darnell played defense.

milehighhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I wouldn't go that far. T-Rob absolutely has work to do defensively, but offensively? I think he's probably ahead of D-Block right now. You are right - defensively, there is no comparison.

Bryan Hurford 11 years, 7 months ago

Is this a message board or an advertisement board, let's keep it relevant!

rabyers 11 years, 7 months ago

Lucky to win maybe but maybe not. The game was tide and if the foul hadn't been call the only thing that it meant was OT. KU's bigs get in foul trouble because they start playing defence after their man has the ball. The key is to not let him catch the sucker so the chances of fouling goes down. Over all I'll take the win and let UCLA cry about what could of been......

TtownHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Exactly, the point is to not let him catch the ball. Or defend well enough that when they do catch it, they are out of position and don't have a good shot and have to kick it back out.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 7 months ago

Why would that bother someone like Smith who is big enough to run right over his defenders and somehow manage not to get called for it. They used to make the same excuses for Shaq: "He's so big he can't help fouling. He doesn't mean to."

Troy Abel 11 years, 7 months ago

Everyone else has hit on the negative so I am going to keep this positive this morning. Tyshawn Taylor was huge in the last five minutes! Without him stepping up offensively we lose that game. He really seems to be maturing on that side of the ball. After surfing youtube and watching some of Selby's clips I am very excited to see what happens when we add another tremendous athlete to the frontcourt.

It wasn't pretty last night, but we all know it ain't pretty every night. We have to be able to win on the ugly nights, and the Hawks found a way to do it last night. In the end, we still one our 64th straight at home! RCJGKU!!!

Troy Abel 11 years, 7 months ago

That would be "won last night". Need more coffee!!!

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 7 months ago

Tyrel earned the determination award, in my opinion. He tried, as did Tyshawn, to "will" the game momentum, our way in the second half, ala Sherron. I particularly appreciated his going at the 6-10 305lb mountain in efforts to shift the focus of his presence on defense. Tyshawn saw opportunities to drive to the basket time and time again and put up those floaters and finger-roll-ish shots that should have been scouted better by UCLA. But, all in all, Brady was probably the game changer at the end who truly rescued us. His stats may not show it overall, but, he was in the right place and did the right thing to prevent too large a deficit to overcome.

Carter Patterson 11 years, 7 months ago

Bill Self does even better coaching after the games....I think the guys will get the picture.

Sparko 11 years, 7 months ago

It was great game. UCLA played their best ball--probably no other team wanted to end the streak as much. No sense over-analyzing this. The whistles were tight--I thought they really helped UCLA's big men and hurt the twins. But it is a win. No need to whine. Experience. Confidence. Tyshawn turned the Sherron corner last night.

REHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Very pleasing to see Tyrel's scoring touch return in the first half; and Tyshawn's determination in closing minutes. Brady naysayers will have to take a step back after this showing. Amazing that Little applied the follow-thru to elicit that whistle in the final second. Hopefully, he will have learned lots re his overall shot selection; as he obviously is going to see much playing time until the twins and TRob improve defensively. Essentially, last night saw Self go to a 7 man rotation. Releford and EJ provided some relief minutes for the tired legs of starters; but didn't contribute much. EJ seems to be playing with too much focus on not making mistakes; so his athleticism is somewhat negated. In a game not so hotly contested those two will probably see 8-10 minutes, but in crunch situations look to ride the bench, barring injury to starters or Little. This team really needed Josh Selby last night. AND D-BLOCK!

hawk_of_ages 11 years, 7 months ago

"Brady naysayers will have to take a step back after this showing."

Ha ha, you'd think so, wouldn't you? But no, the haters are out in force as usual in the other comment threads today.

FSUJHAWK 11 years, 7 months ago

That game was ugly. Ordinarily I would want to class it as a "grind it out" game but clearly we were flat and played no defense. Expecting to win every game at home is the Kansas way but putting in the effort is as well.

HCBS schedule these games strategically to identify the mental and physical weaknesses in our teams every year prior to conference play. He will have this team prepared for Memphis, etc. Hopefully the interior and perimeter defense will improve, if not, we'll probably have two or more losses come start of conference play.

RE free throws, not much I can say there except for it brings back haunted memories of Final Fours past.

This team has the potential to be really good but nothing will come easy. Here's to another exciting year of Jayhawk Basketball.


ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 7 months ago

Kind of worried about being taken to the wire by two unranked PAC 10 teams. Hopefully it's a case of them being underranked!

JJHAWK 11 years, 7 months ago

Both of the "unranked" teams will be in this years NCAA tourney. It wouldn't surprise me to see one or both make the sweet sixteen.

If we had shot a good per centage on our free throws - we win going away. We didn't but somehow still got the W. It is one of the things I like about Coach Self, he some how finds a way to win the ugly ones.

The down side here is if we can't shoot free throws, we are not going far in the big dance.

didjabuti 11 years, 7 months ago

I fully expect to see Arizona ranked before too long, maybe not UCLA unless they can dominate the PAC 10. Those should both be tournament teams if they keep up their play, though. Hopefully the Jayhawks take the right lessons from this win and continue to get better.

KuKain 11 years, 7 months ago

Didn't they shoot 70 some % from the field in the first half? I'm not trying to say we didn't play poorly cause we did. When the other team is shooting like that, I don't care who they are they are gonna be tough to beat. Yet we still found a way to win.

Jeff Coffman 11 years, 7 months ago

Everyone forgets the no call when we were up four and they basically shoved Tyrel out of bounds and it ended up being a turnover.

By the way there were two refs that called the foul on Little at the end, so I think the right call was made.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 7 months ago

I can hear HCBS already talking to Danny Manning----"man, you got to get our bigs to play better defense inside." Manning will take that as a challenge and it will get better.

Layne Pierce 11 years, 7 months ago

If this was the last game of the season, we would all be crying in our beer, the fact is we are still very much a work in progress. The parts are there, but the totality is lacking.

I hope and pray that Selby is a good free throw shooter, because we are going to get fouled. The bigs just have to play smarter defense. Honeycutt was all something for sure.

We make our free throws we win going away. Shot selection by Little was atrocious. He needs to let the game come to him a little bit more, at least swing it around a couple of times. Still he did a lot of good things too and the fact is he is going to have to, because Withey is still a project. I really think Withey needs to get in the game earlier, not crunch time.

This game's pace was really dictated by UCLA, and we simply were being reactive, we did not make them play our game. Last night was their best game of the year, and they looked much improved. Our defense obviously had something to do with that.

Arizona also is a serious team.

We also had too many instances of people going all the way to the basket with no help.

Mark Anderson 11 years, 7 months ago

While Tyshawn was the hero at the end of the game, Tyrel kept us in the game in the first half. Without his 15 points early, we would have been in a big hole at half that would have been difficult to crawl out of. Kudos to both players for helping KU eek out a victory over a determined UCLA squad.

beware0fph0g 11 years, 7 months ago

Anyone else think HCBS got out-coached by Ben Howland last night?

beware0fph0g 11 years, 7 months ago

Did you notice that there was no point in that game where we had any sort of sustained momentum? We would go on little 4 to 6 point runs and Howland would call a timeout. That is a smart coaching move that any coach should do...but it was after the timeouts that always seemed to go UCLA's way. They would have a better set play, defensive stop, or similar, and the AFH fans would go from on their feet and loud, to sitting down and cursing under their breath.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 7 months ago

Self told Piper on the post-game show that the team didn't stick with the plan that he had laid down for the game. Suspect that will be a topic of conversation this week as well as post defense.

beware0fph0g 11 years, 7 months ago

Here's to hoping that this was the case, and that it will be corrected in the future.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 7 months ago

No..even though I thought Howland did an excellent job, Self did also. I thought the problem was execution. I would like to see Self have the entire team practice FTs though.

Chris Kurtz 11 years, 7 months ago

I thought Little got to the ball first and couldn't get up a clean shot because he was bumpped and maybe even grabbed/hit on arm by the UCLA player going for the ball. I was yelling for a foul and thought it was one.

I hate it when people say you can't make that kind of call that at the end of the game. If it's a foul with 8 minutes left it's a foul with 1 second left. I remember in the final Big 8 championship game Iowa state won on free throws agianst KU because Vaughn hand checked the ISU player 90 feet from the basket. It sucks but that's how it goes.

BTW I know Josh Smith is a big guy, but that doesn't mean he gets to throw his body back into the defender and knock them back a few feet so he can get a layup. That's a foul and he kept getting away with it.

Other than not going to overtime this game kind of reminds me of the game against Arizona in 2007-08 when we won the championship. Arizona came in and Budinger went for about 30 points and we didn't play that well. I don't think Arizona was ranked that year either.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 7 months ago

Rebounding and free throw shooting. Seems that these are recurring problems, even with the 4 blowout games. I don't think we were out coached even though Howland did an excellent job, I thought the players didn't execute. The Morris brothers were either having a bad night or they are overrated. We played almost as well without them when they both sat out a large part of the first half. Personally, I think they both much better than what they showed On a different note, I was disappointed to see that EJ was unable to create shots for himself with the clock running down and Morningstar was dreadful. Several times he passed up open shots and passed the ball to players who were expecting him to shoot and were waiting for the rebound. I'm hoping to see a much better game against Memphis. The last time the Jayhawks were at MSG they lost (I think St Joes?) and Micah Downs was a freshman....I'm sitting in section 95W if any of you guys are there.

hawkva 11 years, 7 months ago

Have we reached a point where the home court winning streak works against us? --where it's too much of a motivator for the visitors and too much of a burden for the home team? I don't know, am merely wondering, but I couldn't help but feel we played as if we were distracted. Or expecting that somehow our streak would, of itself, bail us out. Naturally, I want the streak to go on forever, too, but ultimately we have to learn to ignore it and play in spite of it. Any thoughts?

HawkVA (Hawk in Virginia)

didjabuti 11 years, 7 months ago

Leading up to the games I think that could be an issue, but once the game starts you're playing the other team and trying to win. I do somewhat think wins such as this one could hurt, if they don't take the right things away from it. Last year, after winning so many games that we didn't play well by turning it up in the last few minutes we came up with too little, too late. It's hard to believe that you are beatable when you win games you should lose. Here's hoping we deserve to win in New York. RCJH!

Sparko 11 years, 7 months ago

Howland has very little class, incidentally. He should have gotten a technical.

The real mistake at the end was that UCLA still remained overly physical on the last shot attempt. I thought the strip of Morris got his arm, and Little was definitely fouled. It was a closer game than it should have been. Without the 4-point plays, and some friendly whistles for most of the game, UCLA might have been blown out of this one. After grabbing an 8-point lead, the officials started really clamping down on the flow of the game. I am happy with a win--and grateful that we learned a lot in the process. And if Howland never wins another game? That would be great. Jeebus, after playing them as a road team when KU was the No. 1 seed, he can take a flying bite.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't know if the refs noticed his reaction, but yeah..if they did he should have gotten a tech. As for playing at UCLA, there was no way of knowing we would be ranked #1 and I think it was part of the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood series. Could be wrong on that but we need to play at least a few non conference games against strong opponents.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 7 months ago

@ sparko---- I was listening to Bob Davis and Chris Piper and they said Coach Howland threw a full cup of liquid on the AFH floor. Talk about having no class! I can understand being upset and all but to throw a full cup of water onto the floor? Sorry bubba, I just lost a lot of respect for you right there.

IBRONNIEB 11 years, 7 months ago

I've seen this game before. It was a streak buster game. Only somehow we won! We did not shoot free throws well, we played no defense in the post, and we took bad shots. We got pushed around in the paint by a big inexperienced slow post man. A streak shooter got hot on us, and threw in not one but 2 three pointers while being fouled. In the past these same things would have caused the streak to be broken. Remember Texas A&M. Yes we were fortunate to escape with a win. But it is a win, and a good teaching tool, for coach in practice. Our players were getting a little full of themselves, they will listen now, when he tells them what he wants. Or they will get beat. Dont think the players were not feeling pressure, as the game wound down. The longer UCLA hung around, or had the lead, the more pressure to keep the streak alive. Time to focus on the next game, not the #1 team, and if you would give them a run, Selby or not.( kansasTwin21) Get the next one, and the rest will happen in due time. RCJH

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